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Brad Cooper tells his story in seven-hour deposition

Posted October 9, 2008
Updated October 10, 2008

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— New affidavits filed in a Cary custody case cast doubt on statements Brad Cooper made to police after the July slaying of his wife, Nancy Cooper.

Cary police Det. George Daniels, who has watched a video deposition Brad Cooper gave on Oct. 2, said in an affidavit filed Thursday that statements Cooper made under oath as part of the custody battle with his in-laws differ from what he told police in the days after his wife's disappearance.

In the seven-hour video deposition filed in Wake County District Court Thursday afternoon, Brad Cooper tells attorneys for his wife's family that he has hired a private investigator but does not say why. His attorneys cite attorney-client privilege.

Cooper also details his account of the morning his wife disappeared, an extramarital affair he had with a co-worker's wife and other details about how the couple was having marital issues, including financial problems caused by his wife's excessive spending.

"She spent more than we had, which was unfortunate, and she drank a little more than I would have wanted her to," he said.

They had attempted marriage counseling but were in the process of separating – because, he said, Nancy Cooper could not get past the affair – and since the beginning of the year, they had been sleeping in separate bedrooms.

But Brad Cooper said his wife was "a great mother" and a supportive wife.

He said he has also thought about moving out of their home, "but I really haven't given it that much thought. It hasn't been my primary focus," he said. His focus, he said, is "being able to see my girls again" and "helping out with the investigation of Nancy."

But Daniels, in his affidavit, states the testimony is inconsistent with the statements Brad Cooper made early on to Cary police "and evidence that we have gathered during the investigation."

A friend reported Nancy Cooper, 34, missing on the afternoon of July 12 after, according to her husband, she went jogging and never returned. She was supposed to have met the friend that afternoon.

Although it is unknown what details Daniels means are  inconsistent, Brad Cooper says in the deposition that he was upstairs with his youngest daughter, Katie, checking e-mail when his wife left for a jog around 7 a.m. He said he did not see her leave and was unsure of what she was wearing.

"Either she said, 'Goodbye,' or the door closed. I'm not too sure if she actually said goodbye. Either way, I somehow knew she had left," he said. "The door had closed, she said, 'Later,' or something."

From approximately 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., he said, he was cleaning the house "to make her as happy as best I could." He vacuumed, did laundry and washed the floors in the kitchen and hallway with hot water and vinegar, he said.

When Nancy Cooper had not returned home by 1 p.m., Brad Cooper said he packed his children in his car and drove around looking for her at Lochmere Lake, nearby neighborhoods and at their gym, Life Time Fitness.

"I was driving like a mad man, kind of not knowing where she was. So, for an hour, I drove around looking for her," Cooper said.

Nancy Cooper's body was found two days later in an undeveloped subdivision about three miles from the Coopers' Lochmere home in Cary. An autopsy determined she likely was strangled.

On July 16, Nancy Cooper's parents, Garry and Donna Rentz, and sister, Krista Lister, filed for custody of the Coopers' two daughters, claiming Brad Cooper is an unfit father and, among other allegations, that he had been emotionally abusive to and financially controlling of his wife in the months before she was killed.

Although Brad Cooper has not been called a suspect in his wife's slaying, he has been the focus of investigators' search warrants in the case. Through his attorneys, he has denied being involved in her death, and they have said that he would remain cooperative with investigators.

But Daniels, the lead investigator in the case, states in his affidavit that Brad Cooper "has not fully cooperated" and he "has not been willing to come to the police department to assist in the investigation" despite formal requests from Cary police to do so.

Daniels' affidavit was among a number of other affidavits filed this week in preparation for the custody hearing, scheduled for Oct. 16.

In another affidavit, Gary Beard, who was the Coopers' exterminator for the past seven years, testifies how it was "impossible to park a car in their garage" when he serviced the house on July 8, because it was full of toys and other items.

"The Coopers' garage was full of toys and other items making it impossible for someone to park a car in their garage," Beard states. "Their garage remains as cluttered as ever."

That appears to contradict a statement in Cooper's deposition in which he says that on Saturday, June 28, he said there were so many toys in the garage, he organized it so "we could actually have one car in the garage."

In another affidavit, Cary mother Shirley Hull recalls an argument the Coopers had in the parking lot of their daughters' school on May 24.

She describes "the sound of children screaming and crying" as she walked to her car at Triangle Academy Preschool. She said she saw Nancy Cooper crying and heard Brad Cooper yell, "Give me the girls!"

Her affidavit continues: "I also heard him scream obscenities in front of Katie and Bella, who were screaming and crying hysterically."

Calls to Brad Cooper's attorneys Thursday were not immediately returned, and Alice Stubbs, who represents Nancy Cooper's family, declined an interview, saying the deposition and affidavits speak for themselves.

Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore has declined to comment about the murder case, but said in a statement Thursday afternoon that the investigation "continues to be going very well."

District Judge Debra Sasser, who is presiding over the custody case, said during a motions hearing last week that if no one is charged in the case before the custody hearing, she would have to make the determination whether Brad Cooper was involved – a critical factor in deciding whether the children would be safe, she said.


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  • Adelinthe Oct 10, 2008

    kidsrn - "It just underscored that it APPEARS that BC lied about this---and if he lied about this, then what else might he have lied about?"

    That's the lousiest logic I've seen in a long long time.

    How many women have you heard say, "My house is very clean." Then you go in there and it's a wreck.

    First, it's a matter of opinion.

    Second, it's denial.

    Third, it's a relative matter, i.e. it depends upon what one considers clean.

    Surely a rational mind would need more than this to spread gossip that someone has killed someone else, even in Cary, I hope.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Adelinthe Oct 10, 2008

    A 7-hour deposition could hardly be called uncooperative, unless one is unhinged that is.

    As for all of the neighborhood gossip, I'm not sure Nance will ever get justice because of that, regardless of what happened.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • greentara Oct 10, 2008

    Well, he said he cleaned the garage. We all know people 'clean' differently. Some people just move the stuff around and never really scrub stuff down. Think about the people you work with and if you share a kitchen/break room with at lunch time. You know what I mean. I cleaned my dish, but failed to wipe up the crumbs on the counter, and left half a bottle of diet coke on the windowsill for 3 days. But I cleaned up after myself!! What kind of stupid questions are they asking him?

  • tootiefrootie Oct 10, 2008

    Knifty, you can rest assured it means something to some. My basement, house, gets spotless, then it's totally trashed within a week, so there is just no telling what it means. Maybe there is a pic of it spotless, they would have videoed the garage when the served a search warrant on Coopers residence, perhaps it was spotless on the day she went missing. Perhaps they are trying to prove he is a slob. We shall see how this will get spun.

    I think the plaintiffs affidavits lack substance, I think they really hoped Brad would have been arrested by now.

    She was found face down on the embankment of a drainage pond.

  • KniftyKnitter Oct 10, 2008

    I read in a Canadian paper (on-line) that NC's body was found IN the water. Does anyone know if this is actually true?

  • KniftyKnitter Oct 10, 2008

    Which affidavit had BC saying that he cleaned the garage? I can't find it.

    I have to say, my garage is a complete disaster. We put up with it for a LOOOOOOONG time and then decide, "Today is clean-out-the-garage-day." The garage stays clean for about a week, max., and then it's a wreck again.

    I'm not sure how cleaning the garage is evidence of murder.

  • tootiefrootie Oct 10, 2008

    """The one attorney kept pressing him for the name of the ER doctor who treated his cut hand over 5 years ago. Give me a break! I was in the ER for an ulcer 6 months ago and couldn't tell you the name (or how many) doctors came through."""

    A likely attempt to determine if the cut-hand was really a suicidal attempt as the in-nuts claim he is unstable and threatened suicide. Honestly, I couldn't tell you what I had for dinner last night or what my husband was wearing when I saw him briefly this morning. I watched the depositions, I feel for the guy. I hope the PI they hired finds out what happened to Nancy.

  • yellow_hat Oct 10, 2008

    Trublue in Wake County - How can you trip yourself up if you say nothing other than "I want to speak with my attorney"? You said you talk to "criminals". They are not criminals when they talk to the police - they are at most suspects. They are not criminals unless they are found guilty after a trial. It is difficult for all of us to think in those terms sometimes - but it serves our country well to do so.

  • tootiefrootie Oct 10, 2008

    """All along they (The Police) said Mr Cooper was cooperating with the investigation, now they say he hasn't. What's up with that?"""

    They are being inconsistent with their statements. CPD is incompetent and can't handle this case. They have a rookie detective having Cooper's computers searched to see "if he researched how to dispose of a body." Talk about reaching!

    This entire debacle is a tragedy for Nancy, Brad and the two little girls. Nancy is dead, Brad is accused of murder which he states he has nothing do with, and the two little girls have lost one parent permanently and one temporarily. This family, thanks to the "CLIQUE" and in laws have now had the Cooper's "dirty-dirty personal laundry" publicized for all to read. The Cary Police Department have no credible evidence at this time to charge anyone with murder.

    What will CPD do when the FBI Computer Forensics show there were no such queries made? Gomer and Goober will have to chase another lead.

  • Trublue in Wake County Oct 10, 2008

    never talk to the cops, keep your mouth shut. That's how they trip you up

    Ummm no, thats how dumb-azz criminals trip themselves up and get convicted :-) Whats even more wonderful is by supreme court ruling - we can lie all day long to criminals errr sorry, "match wits" with criminals to get to the bottom of things, if necessary.